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Visit quirky Sydney stalls at Australia’s biggest garage sale this weekend

Man wearing an old scuba helmet at a garage sale.
Photograph: Adrian Lander/Garage Sale Trail

Whether its at antique centres, vintage stores or op shops, we love a good ol’ rummage for pre-loved bargains. But we also crave Marie Kondo-style clean-outs to increase the joy-giving abilities of the stuff we do hold onto. The Garage Sale Trail, which is back for its ninth year this weekend, gives Sydneysiders the opportunity to achieve both retail dreams in one fell swoop, selling off their unwanted bits and bobs that are still in good nick and also having a stickybeak at what their neighbours are offloading, all while diverting truckloads of items away from a sad landfill finale. 

How does it work? Simply register your sale – it’s totally free and open to households, schools or community groups looking to make some dosh – and it’ll appear on a map of your neighbourhood so garage shoppers can bounce between sales all weekend. 

The simple but sustainably effective idea was conceived by Andrew Valder and Darryl Nichols in Bondi Beach in 2010. Valder says the first incarnation was like a street party, minus the booze and with added caffeine, but it became clear that the garage sale element of the music, art and surf fest was the big winner.

“We thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we had 30 garage sales’, and we had 130. It was apparent at that point that there was something going on that was much bigger than we had anticipated,” Valder says.

Photograph: Supplied/Garage Sale Trail

Now, the Australia-wide event is on again over October 19-20 and will see more than 22,000 garage sales happen, with close to 5,000 happening around the Sydney region. Valder says there’s really no limit to what shoppers can expect, with weird and wonderful items ranging from legit army tanks to vintage Kombi vans and guitars signed by Bono.

“We [originally] just thought garage sales were something that households had, but once the idea was set free, schools got involved, and then people would have car boot sales, then community groups would get involved with all these stalls and fundraise. Over the years, everyone from the West Australian Ballet to Opera Australia have gotten involved. People have just adopted it and made it their own. That’s the magic of it.”

If you can’t choose between all the potential magical shopping moments, we’ve picked a few choice Sydney sales that shouldn’t be missed. Make sure you visit:

My Big Fat Italian Garage Sale, Bonnyrigg Heights
Head to this Western Sydney garage for everything from the kitsch to the collectible when Tupperware, pot sets, Italian porcelain and baby furniture and clothes are concerned.

Agent 99’s Smart Book Sale, Women’s Library Newtown
This safe space for the female-identifying population is throwing an inclusive sale of their books that are by, for and about women, plus a few special vintage fashion items. It’s all to raise money for the volunteer-run organisation, so get browsing!

Rage Against the Debris, Camperdown
This true multi-generational clean-out offers kid’s toys alongside homewares, books, clothing and whacky one-offs. 

Want to make more community connections doing good? Lend a hand at these ten places where you can volunteer in Sydney.

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